A Pilot’s Responsibility: Airworthiness Doubts in Arizona Aviation Accidents

We talk a lot about pilot error when it comes to Arizona aviation accidents, and truthfully speaking, that is because a majority of accidents are caused by pilot error. Whether it was a performance miscalculation, getting into weather that he or she is ill-equipped to fly into, or controlled flight into terrain, the odds are that when a plane crashes, investigators will find that the pilot is to blame for at least a portion of the accident.

What does not get discussed as frequently is a different kind of pilot error that occurs before the plane even takes off. As the pilot in command of an aircraft, it is that individual’s responsibility to ensure that the plane is in airworthy condition, and that all logbook entries pertaining to maintenance have been properly documented. Even if nothing bad were to happen during the flight, if a Federal Aviation Administration inspector were to ramp check that pilot after a flight and discovered that something was amiss, that pilot may face serious enforcement actions against his or her certificate.

Pilot in Command: The Burden of Responsibility

Most pilots—in fact, most people—have enough self-preservation tendencies that they would not knowingly fly an aircraft that was not airworthy. Even if something unexpected happens during a flight or away from the aircraft’s “base,” special ferry permits are fairly simple to obtain, and allow the plane to be flown back to a maintenance facility. Typically, keeping a plane “in annual” and having it serviced regularly and responsibly will prevent any AD- or condition-related mishaps, so there is usually little excuse when a pilot is found to be in violation.

Logbook entries, on the other hand, tend to be a very grey area. While it is true that the A&P responsible for the work is just as responsible to provide quality logbook entries, it is ultimately the pilot’s responsibility to ensure that such entries exist before operating the aircraft. If, following maintenance actions, the logbook entry does not clearly state that the plane is returned to service, the pilot should follow up with the A&P to determine whether or not the plane is indeed airworthy.

When Honest Mistakes or Negligence Affect You

Whether you were a passenger in a plane that was not airworthy, or your plane was damaged because of a pilot’s misjudgment, you should not have to pay the price for someone else’s mistake. If you have suffered damages because of a pilot’s negligence, call the Phoenix aviation accident lawyers at Curry, Pearson & Wooten today to discuss your case with an experienced professional.